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PA Stoke manager Michael O'Neill at the final whistle.
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O'Neill's Stoke strike late to secure point at Huddersfield in battle of play-off hopefuls
Substitute Jacob Brown was the goal-scoring hero.

SUBSTITUTE JACOB BROWN struck a late equaliser to secure Stoke a 1-1 draw at fellow play-off hopefuls Huddersfield.

Josh Koroma had earlier ended a 19-game run without a Championship goal by giving the Terriers a first-half advantage, just after he was lucky to stay on the pitch following a high tackle.

But Carlos Corberan’s sixth-placed side failed to open a nine-point buffer on their opponents after a surprisingly lacklustre second period.

The draw extended Huddersfield’s unbeaten streak to 10 games – their best sequence since 2011 when Lee Clark masterminded a 23-match stint without a loss before succumbing 3-0 to Peterborough in the League One play-off final.

Huddersfield had made all the early running with an explosive burst of pace by Koroma down the left flank leading to a headed chance for Danny Ward that flashed just over the bar.

Lewis O’Brien also called Stoke goalkeeper, former Ireland youth international Jack Bonham into action with a 15-yard effort after exchanging passes with Koroma.

The pair combined again just before the quarter-hour mark with Koroma curling over from range after O’Brien found him with a square pass.

Stoke then mustered their first opening of the night in the 19th minute when Jaden Philogene-Bidace showed nimble footwork close to the byline before teeing up Mario Vrancic for a stabbed 15-yard shot that Lee Nicholls pushed over.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis headed over from Lewis Baker’s subsequent corner before Koroma’s knee-high tackle on the former saw him lucky to escape punishment from referee Gavin Ward.

To the chagrin of away boss Michael O’Neill, Koroma then opened the scoring in the 27th minute when, having been teed up by O’Brien again, his edge-of-the-box attempt looped over Bonham with the aid of a deflection off Ben Wilmot.

The Potters were left feeling aggrieved once more moments later when strong penalty appeals were ignored after Tyrese Campbell had been tripped by Tom Lees in the home box.

Ward went on to curl straight at Bonham from 20 yards, before Philogene-Bidace robbed a careless Matty Pearson of possession before sidestepping Lees’ challenge and testing Nicholls from just inside the penalty area.

At the other end, Bonham smothered a Sorba Thomas shot and Ward directed a low Koroma cross wide of the near post, before the half ended with a back-heeled Campbell effort that Nicholls gathered comfortably.

A scrappy start to the second period saw neither side manage a goal attempt until Stoke skipper Baker’s 68th-minute drive was well held by Nicholls.

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Campbell’s unconvincing 20-yard shot then lacked the power to extend the home ‘keeper but, with his team having lost all of their attacking verve since the break, Corberan introduced Jordan Rhodes and Duane Holmes from the bench.

Moments later, Holmes headed narrowly over after positive play by Thomas.

But it was Potters replacement Brown who went on to level in the 78th minute after Ollie Turton’s poor clearance had led to Philogene-Bidace rattling Nicholls’ right-hand post.

After Campbell’s follow-up effort had been blocked by O’Brien, Brown then slammed a thumping edge-of-the-box strike into the top-left corner.

The hosts mounted a belated late rally but Holmes missed the target from distance in stoppage time and Scott High did not lift a curling attempt high enough to beat Bonham.


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